Skip to comments.Planetary Institute Founder Named 2010 Barringer Medal Winner
Posted on 09/14/2009 1:10:25 PM PDT by SunkenCiv
William K. Hartmann painted this conception of an asteroid impact on Mars. Similar explosions formed many of craters that international space probes have observed on the red planet.
Hartmann, co-founder of the Tucson-based Planetary Science Institute, is an internationally recognized expert on impact cratering and the evolution of planetary surfaces. Among his many contributions to the field, the Meteoritical Society is honoring his discovery of the Moon's giant Orientale impact basin, a discovery he made as a graduate student in 1962 under the direction of space sciences pioneer Gerard Kuiper.
The society also is recognizing his development of a system of "isochrons," which uses the number of impact craters on various Martian geological formations to estimate their age. Hartmann has developed and refined the system during several decades of research at the Planetary Science Institute. As early as 1965, he used the method to correctly predict the age of lunar lava plains to be about 3.5 billion years old. This age was later confirmed by studies of lunar material returned to Earth by Apollo astronauts.
Although Hartmann has applied the isochron system mainly to the Moon and Mars, his long-term goal is to apply the concept to planets and satellites throughout the solar system.
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I really hate to be a nit-picker here, but that painting can’t be correct. If an object came down at an angle like the one depicted, the ejecta from the impact would be heavier on the side away from the direction of entry. It wouldn’t be the nice, symmetrical fountain shown there.
Shoemaker studied that one, turns out it’s pretty close.
by William K. Hartmann.
Found this article from a recent study at the Berlin museum of natural history: http://apophis.naturkundemuseum-berlin.de/webpage/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=11&Itemid=11
It has some nice pics, and a movie simulation, of oblique impacts that do indeed show more ejecta on the side away from the incoming direction of the impactor.
[Gene Shoemaker:] “That’s a pretty nice crater.” [slightly crazed laughter]